Worst. Spin. Class. Ever.

30 Sep

To adjust to my low car diet, I’ve been modifying my gym schedule to go in the evening. Since I’m not at my standard gym, I decided to try challenging my current workout routine by trying a new gym and class.

Prepared for the Spin class to fill up after reserving my spot ahead of time, I arrived 10 minutes early. I was astonished to find the room empty –  Every class I go to typically is packed by the time I arrive (averaging a meer 2 minutes prior).  I kill a few minutes by finding a towel, and return to the workout studio. Approximately 2 people are in the room with 4 minutes to start time.

Right as clock hits “go”, the instructor saunters in the room and stands by the bike in front. Without a smile or greeting, she barks to increase our resistance on the bike. When we start peddling, she points directly to victims, demanding “You, increase your resistance”. While I appreciate a good kick to get things going, I decided to avoid eye contact in fear of my life. She makes no attempt to learn our names or introduce herself. The spin nazi continues to bark instructions to switch positions, shouting out numbers, and pacing back and forth. Literally, this pressure to keep up was worse than the moments before OJ’s verdict. (If you’re not familiar with spin class routine, typically the instructor bikes at the front of the room so you can follow their lead & determine pace.)

I think my favorite part of the class was the music. Personally, I’m an indie-rock/WXPN kind of girl. When I enter a spin class, I expect pop music or upbeat jams for motivation. However, this music resembled Marilyn Manson beats at a level I believe they used against Guantanamo detainees. And the music device? Spin Nazi changed each song by switching individual CDs. No playlist here.  I’m not sure what I’m more fascinated by – the playlist, or the fact gyms still own CD players.

Thank goodness this spin torture only lasted 30 minutes. I survived the class and got a decent workout out of it.  However, I wish the class instructions on the site included “No smiles, friendliness or fun allowed.”

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Irony of Commuting in the Fall…

28 Sep

Here’s my question for the day: If Weather.com says the temperature today will be a high in the 70’s-80’s, why is it so sickly humid on my way to the subway,  but freezing by the time I get off the train in the suburbs?

Anyone?!?

Sadly, I was sweaty by the end of my 3.5 block walk to the BS line today…

the Dentist Debacle…

27 Sep

Growing up, I had a horrific time finding a dentist I liked. My Dad’s health insurance changed 8 times in a 5 year period (perhaps this is exaggerating..) and eventually settled for one towards the end of High School.  If there was a DR competition with long-term commitments, my dentist would win.

I realized on Saturday that my dentist appointment was Monday at 8:30 AM, and there’s no way to get from the dentist office to work by public transit – both locales are in the suburbs.

After hours of mental debate (canceling the appointment, working from home the entire day, a 2.5+ hour commute of taking the train from dentist to Philly back to work), I decided to use a Zipcar trip! Although I could theoretically look for a dentist closer to home, it was too late for me to cancel the appointment.

I found a Honda Insight Hybrid nearby and rented it for a few hours, still giving me facetime by the water cooler:

The hybrid ran very smoothly, even in the rain.

Unfortunately, I waited an HOUR for the dental hygienist to see me, and the dentist was another 15 minute delay. Since I concluded I’d leave work at noon to return the Zipcar back, I made it in for less than 2 hours at the office.

Lesson of the day: When you go carless, best idea is to transfer ALL your doctors/dentists to a 5 mile radius of your home. (and ask your friends for recommendations!)

Commuting to the Suburbs…3 Common Questions

23 Sep

Working in the suburbs & residing in the city can be quite the challenge for public transit. Since I started the Low Car Diet, I receive 3 common questions:

  1. Can you get to work by the train? How?
  2. How long would it take to drive?
  3. How do you like the Low Car Diet?

Answers:

  1. Yes, I can get to work by public transit. I first have to either walk 20 minutes or take a subway to Suburban Station. Once there, I get the express train to my designated stop. Once I arrive, there’s a shuttle that takes me to work. Although work is 10 minutes from the train station, of course the shuttle takes a round-about route, which takes 22 minutes.  Overall, (if SEPTA isn’t running late), I leave my house at 6:45 and arrive at work at 8:20.  (If I drive and leave my house at 6:40 AM, I stop at my gym to get a workout in and arrive at my desk by 8:45.)
  2. If I drive, it can take anywhere from 35 minutes (complete rarity) or up to 2 hours (also complete rarity). I’d say the average is slightly over 1 hour.
  3. It’s a change, but I am enjoying it.  Rather than taking as throwing my 5-6 bags in my car each day, I have to limit my baggage to 1-2 smaller bags. I’m catching up on work and reading rather than listening to XPN or frustrated at drivers. Best of all, I get to hear pieces of conversations from other passengers, like the woman who was wondering why people in Northern Liberties wear clothes from the Salvation Army with Burberry jackets. (They’re called hipsters.)

My First Zipcar Drive!

22 Sep

When my good friend Prozzie visited this past weekend, she took the eco-friendly route of bus from DC.  While she could have taken a cab, I instead decided to use a sliver of my Zipcar credit from my Low Car Diet participation and took one out for a spin!

I logged onto the website and debated for about 30 seconds between a Honda and Mini Cooper… being I never have driven a Mini Cooper and it looked way cooler, I chose it.  While it was 1:34, I rented a twin to this car for the 1:30-2:30 timeslot:

(minus the bow.)

I moseyed on over to “Martz”, as she was named and awkwardly attempted to see if my Zipcar card into the driver’s side lock  – mind you, it looks like this:

Clearly a credit card wasn’t fitting in a pinhole.

Luckily, I scanned the driver’s side & windshield and found the barcode to recognize my card on the upper right-hand side, and the door unlocked!

I swung back to my apartment past the alleyway and scooped Prozzie… and started our journey over to 30th St.  About 15 minutes later with a pit stop to a mini-market & a driver making a left turn from my right, I dropped her off.

My trip home was pretty smooth sailing until I pulled up to the spot… and noticed a huge delivery truck with the beverage ramp smack in the middle of the street.  I politely asked the delivery man to move the ramp… When he refused, I tried my best to avoid an altercation. Luckily, I maneuvered into the space and parked the car.

After I finally pulled into the spot & locked the car with 2 minutes to go on my return time, I strided by the young delivery man with a look of accomplishment… in hot pink leggings:

Overall, the Zipcar experience was very easy and fun! Luckily, I ran into no problems, swiftly dropped Prozzie off and returned the car on time. I’m looking forward to my next drive.

Compare & Contrast: Case Study of SEPTA Train Times

16 Sep

For days 1 & 2 of taking the train to work on my Low Car Diet, I had 2 drastically different timings for AM work commute. See below.

Day 1, Wednesday:

  • 6:55, walked out door
  • 7:01, got to Subway Station
  • 7:10, got on Broad St Line
  • 7:18, arrived at Suburban Station. Train delayed for 8 minutes
  • 7:30-something: Get on Regional Rail Train
  • 8:15, get on bus. Sit & wait.
  • 8:30, bus leaves parking lot
  • 8:58 arrive at office

Day 2, Thursday morning:

  • 6:45, walk out door
  • 6:50, arrive at subway station
  • 6:54, subway arrives
  • 7:10: Arrive at Suburban Station
  • 7:15, get on Regional Rail
  • 7:45, arrive at destination station
  • 7:50, Shuttle departs
  • 8:18 AM: Walk into office!

Lesson Learned: Shockingly, missing your train by 3 minutes causes apprx 40 additional minutes of travel time…

Low Car Diet – Day 1

15 Sep

For Day 1 of the low car diet, I had a pretty great start.

  • 10 AM, kickoff ceremony
  • Instead of driving over or mailing my rent check, my best friend tricked convinced me to do a nice little 4 mile loop around the city to help her prepare for the ING Half Marathon on Sunday… incorporating the rent drop off on the way.
  • Tried the new google phone app to dial into a call!

I was able to get a LOT-more done and didn’t have the stress of road rage travel!